What Age Should You Stop Using A Stroller? Turns Out, It's None Of Your Business
I loved my stroller. It was cute, it was sturdy, and it lasted seven years and two kids. We built a lot of memories and habits with that stroller, too, and came to rely on it when attending any big family outing. It was only after I realized that schlepping it along was more trouble than it was worth that I finally sold it (and without telling my children, who used that thing until the bitter end). Yes, they were big kids in a stroller and I regret nothing.
"OMG why is that child in a stroller? WALK!"
"When I have kids I will never let them use a stroller beyond the age of 14 months and 27 days."
"There's no reason that kid needs to be pushed around when they have perfectly good legs they can use."
"Can you believe some parents? That's the problem with this entitled generation you know. Back in my day our shoes were made of rusty nails and you couldn't have forced me in a stroller! I loved getting tetanus!"
Look, why this is a thing is beyond me. But, yeah, it's a thing, because apparently it's a fact of modern human life that people will take literally any opportunity to judge someone, particularly if the "someone" in question is a parent. But, honestly, this is not a serious "issue" people. I know a lot of you may have some Very Big Feels about kids you've arbitrarily deemed "too big" to be in a stroller chilling in a stroller, but let me tell you why you need to calm down:
"Big Kids" Are Still Actually Quite Small
Seriously, my 5-year-old's legs are, like, half the size of mine, and my legs are pretty short compared to most adults. So, yeah, my kids are bigger than infants and toddlers but, as far as humans go, they're still pretty small. And above and beyond all that they're not always as capable of dealing as an adult.
So why don't we just accept that kids are going to be graded on a curve and that it's sort of absurd to judge them based on our standards? And, if you don't have much experience with children, maybe reserve judgement based on the fact that you don't know WTF you're even talking about. There's no shame in not knowing something. There's a lot of things I don't know, and when I don't know I trust other people who do live that experience know what they're doing.
Different Kids Have Different Abilities
This is a huge point to consider: very often, for kids with disabilities and/or special needs, a stroller is a really important tool that enables them to engage more fully in the world around them. You can't know who is using a stroller in that way just by looking. So recognize that there may be a really good reason for someone to be using a stroller based on information you do not have and are not entitled to.
"Why don't they just use a wheelchair?" you may ask.
Or they could just use a stroller, which accomplishes the same goal. Also wheelchairs are expensive AF. Also they tend to be a bit more cumbersome than strollers. Also also some kids and their families prefer a stroller to a wheelchair because it prompts fewer rude stares/questions when they're just out trying to live their lives.
How Old Is Too Old, Exactly?
Also, what are we considering "big kid" here? Because if I'm going to base my decisions off someone else's comfort then whose comfort are we going with? And what age is "too old" to use a stroller? 3? 5? 7? What if my 7-year-old son looks 5? What if I have a 3-year-old daughter who looks 6?
You see where this gets sort of weird? See how maybe people should just do what works for them?
Kids Can Be Annoyingly Slow
I lived a good chunk of my adult life in New York City, which means I'm a fast walker. Now that we live in rural Connecticut, my husband regularly has to grab me by the shoulder to slow me down, at which point I'll see my kids several yards behind me because of course they are. I'm basically power walking.
But sometimes power walking is warranted and, in those instances, a stroller is a really handy.
Strollers Make For Convenient Storage
It's like having a little caravan wagon with you which, depending on the kind of outing you're having, is tremendously useful. Like, are you spending the whole day at the zoo? Did you want to pack a picnic lunch so you're not stuck spending $50 for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the zoo concession stand? Is it an early spring day so you don't know if your kids are going to need jackets or not and you might get stuck holding all of them? Did your kid really, really, really want to bring their stuffed animal and it wasn't worth arguing over but you didn't want to carry it for the rest of the day?
Thank goodness for strollers.
The Kids Enjoy It
Seriously, I know we're all old and jaded and misery loves company but is a child enjoying something really so terrible that it must be stopped? My kids feel like a stroller is like tiny roller-coaster. Remember that level of simple pleasure and whimsy? Let them have it.
City Life Is Different
When it comes to strollers, environment is important. For example: in a city like New York, where people walk basically everywhere and everyone is going at approximately the speed of this gif, or there's big crowds, it can be difficult for a kid to keep pace. Eventually they do, but if you're having a long day or you really just need to get somewhere, just pop that kiddo in a stroller and be on your way. It's great and, sometimes, necessary.
Strollers Make My Life Easier
Seriously, can't that just be enough? The stroller makes things easy for me. Why is that a crime?! Life is hard! There's a lot to handle. This makes it easier. Is it "lazy" when the alternative is a ton of hassle that I can easily avoid by doing this simple thing that inexplicably bothers you but shouldn't?
What Do You Even Care?
Honestly, I just don't see how this affects anyone other than the people who have chosen to do it and I'm struggling to figure out why this is even "a thing." Does it threaten your choices? Does it fly in the face of what you feel you would do in the same situation? Is it that you feel you need to have an opinion on absolutely everything?
There are lots of things people should give a f*ck about. The environment. Civil rights. Education. Who's going to rule Westeros at the conclusion of Game of Thrones. But judging kids you've deemed "too old" to be in a stroller? That doesn't have to be a thing. It's OK for you to not give a you-know-what about this.
Just Admit It: You're Jelly
Clearly this is just redirected stroller envy. I'm sorry that you, as a grown-ass adult, have surpassed the height and weight limits, but that's no reason to rain on someone else's parade.